Spanish & Latin Pop Music in 21 rst Century

There is more to Popular Spanish music than just Ricky Martin, Shakira and Julio Iglesias.Here is a list of some music I just discovered recently.Most of the artist I have selected have reached the top in Spanish music Charts for 2010.

Estopa is a pop/flamenco duo founded in 1999 by brothers José and David Muñoz of Cornellà de Llobregat (Baix Llobregat), Catalonia. Their first album, Estopa, has sold well over 1,000,000 copies to date (the equivalent of an American platinum album) and their latest, Voces de Ultrarumba, sold more than 200,000 copies on its first day of release. Their playful, Rumba-tinged compositions have made them one of the most successful pop groups in Spanish history, in terms of both album sales and critical acclaim. The name of the group, “Estopa” (tow, in english) refers to when both brothers worked together at a SEAT automobile factory and, in their own words, a boss kept on screaming at them, “¡Dale estopa!” which means something like “Work hard!”.

Estopa – Vino Tinto

El Run Run con Rosario has been on the top charts for 21 weeks in 2010.

David Bisbal (born June 5, 1979) is a Spanish singer. Bisbal was the second finalist of the reality show “Operación Triunfo”, a show inspired by American Idol.Bisbal’s first album, Corazón Latino (Latin Heart), was a smash hit in Spain and all over Latin America, so much so that he had to schedule a 2002-2003 tour that covered the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and a good portion of the rest of South America and Central America, as well as the United States. It is estimated Bisbal has already earned over one million US dollars in his career as a singer. Ave María, Lloraré Las Penas and Dígale were huge hits.

David Bisbal- Ave Maria

Bustamante’s breakthrough was in the TV hit Operación Triunfo. This program, similar to American Idol, broke ratings records as well as dominated the top position of the CD sales charts during its 5 month run. When the program ended in February 2002, David Bustamante was one of the three finalists.David Bustamante has had big success in Spain and Latin America. He has sold over 1,400,000 units. His new album Al filo de la irrealidad went platinum at the top of the Spanish charts, and it was released by Universal music, in the USA and Latin America the last 3 March 2008.

David Bustamante- Hoy Tengo Ganas De Ti

Jorge Drexler (b. September 21, 1964) is an Uruguayan singer, the first Uruguayan to win an Academy Award, which he won for composing the song “Al Otro Lado del Río” from The Motorcycle Diaries. Though Drexler himself sang the song on the soundtrack, it was performed together by Antonio Banderas and Santana at the 77th Academy Awards ceremony.

Drexler was born in Montevideo, where he studied medicine and became a doctor. He also studied music and recorded two albums (Radar, La luz que sabe robar), which were only released in Uruguay. In 1995 he was invited to Madrid (Spain) by well-known Spanish songwriter Joaquín Sabina, who introduced him to other important Spanish singers. Drexler went to Spain to record the album Vaivén in 1996 with Spanish musicians. Vaivén included some old songs from his previous releases mixed with new compositions. He moved to Spain and recorded another five albums: Llueve (1998), Frontera (1999), Sea (2001), Eco (2004) and 12 Segundos de Oscuridad (2006).

Although he lives most of the year in Spain, his latest three albums were partially recorded in Uruguay with Uruguayan musicians. Juan Campodónico and Carlos Casacuberta, former members of rock band El Peyote Asesino, have produced Drexler’s albums since Frontera.

His music is a combination of Uruguayan traditional music (candombe, murga, milonga), bossa nova, pop, jazz and electronic music, which results in very personal compositions with original arrangements.

Jorge Drexler- Guittara y Vos

For Estopa’s Anniversary Compilation

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History of Flamenco

Part 1: History of Flamenco

Origins of Flamenco:

Flamenco is part of the culture of Spain, but it’s origins is only select to one region, Andalusia. The cities in Andalucia are Sevilla, Granada, Cordoba,Jerez, and Malaga,and reflect the great Moorish influence,since historically Moors ruled from the 7th to 11th century. What makes flamenco interesting is the influence of other dance forms that have helped to create it. The earliest settlers in Andalusiacame not only from the Middle East,North Africa and Persia,but from the Punjab region of India,Rajasthan. We call them the gypsies. Flamenco is an amalgamation of all cultures. It has drawn its inspiration from Greek, Roman, Indian, Moorish and Jewish cultures.

Flamenco was born from the frustration and heart aches of the oppressed people in Spain: the Jews, gypsies,and Moors. Since the time of the Spanish Iniquisition, the Jews,  Moors and Gypsies were treated as outsiders, often persecuted disdained and hated by the Spanish people.  Flamenco was born from this, as a spiritual outlet very much like gospel was born from the opression of the American slaves.Often whole families would gather impromptu in their neighborhoods to sing,dance and entertain for their community.It was not until later that flamenco became an accepted artform. It took a long time for flamenco to become accepted as an artform in Spain. It was not until non-gypsies performed in cafes and theaters that it became popular. It has been since,commercialized and now has many schools that train to dancers to be full fledged flamenco dancers, combining their training with ballet.

Flamenco and Gypsies:

Until the late eighteenth and nineteenth century, Flamenco dance, music and song was widely considered to belong to the Gypsies, whose customs, beliefs and way of life were disdained and even hated by Spanish society. During and for centuries after the famous expulsion of the Moors and Jews in 1492, the Gypsies were tortured, persecuted and even killed if they would not conform to the accepted standard of Spanish society. Nomadic by nature, many of the Gypsies never settled in one town for very long; they would stay in one location only as long as they were able to make money doing odd jobs, selling their wares, and many of them performing Flamenco for the curious Spaniards.

Expulsion of the Gypsies in Spain

Flamenco, a tri-art:

The traditional view is that flamenco was originally unaccompanied singing (cante). Later, the songs were accompanied by flamenco guitar (toque), rhythmic hand clapping (palmas), rhythmic feet stomping (zapateado) and dance (baile). Other scholars maintain that while some cante forms are unaccompanied (a palo seco), it is likely other forms were accompanied if and when instruments (a palo seco), it is likely other forms were accompanied if and when instruments were available. 19th century writer Estébanez Calderón described a flamenco fiesta in which the singing was accompanied not only by guitars, but also bandurria and tambourine.

Flamenco Dance Categories:

Flamenco dance has many as 50 different dimensions, each projecting the different moods of a person. The mood reflects the nature of the dance and sets the melodic parameters and the cultural backdrop for it. The three main categories of Flamenco music and dance are: Jondo or the grande, which depicts the lament and the grief of the people. It centers on themes of death, anguish, despair or religious sentiment. Intermedio (intermediate), which is of a lesser intensity, but is reflective in nature. It is often accompanied with an oriental cast to the music. Chico (small or light), which depict the feelings of love, ribald humor and happiness.

Flamenco Today:

Today flamenco is being performed by gypsies as well as non-gypsies, far away from its birthplace, and achieved acclaims globally. There is a man that has a flamenco dance troup.In modern  Spain, flamenco is fully a part of Spanish culture and echoes of Spanish flamenco have colored main stream pop. Many Spanish pop singers have that ache and heartbreak in their voice reminiscent of Spanish Flamenco singers. It is evident in the singing style of many pop singers, like Estopa, Rosario, Azucar Moreno, and Chambao to name a few.Flamenco is quiet evident and weddings and parties and social events. An American man forms a Flamenco dance troupe.

Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca  said of Flamenco.
“Flamenco is deeper than all the wells and all the seas that surround the world, deeper than the hearts that create it, or the voices that sing it, almost infinite. It crosses the graveyard of time and the fronds of parched winds. It comes from the first sob and the first kiss.”

A trip to Spain, would not be complete without going to a restaurant or café and experiencing the drama and passion of an authentic Flamenco performance.